THIS MATERIAL CONTAINS INFORMATIONTHE NATIONAL DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ESPIONAGE LAWS.SC,. THEOR REVELATION OF WHICH IN ANY MANNER TO AN UNAUTHORIZED PERSON IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.
CENTRAL IirTKLLIGBNCE AGENCY Office of Current3
CURRENT INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
SUBJECT: Progress of tbe Coup d'Stat in Saigon
1. 5 Saigon time today, General Don telephoned General Stllwell,, stating that all tbe Vietnamese generals were with him at Joint General Staff (JGS) Headquarters andoup was under way. Soon after that, reports werethat the coup forces had seized control of such key Installations as the defense Ministry, the central police station, the communications ministry and the radio station. Coup troops involved in these actions appeared principally to be marine, airborne, and armored elements. Conein reported from the JGS that General Ton That Dlnh was tbe key to the generals' coup; when he agreed, the coup began.
The Presidential Guard barracks wereby the coup forces after some slight The Special Forces compound at Saigon airport was similarly occupied with some fighting. Special Forces Commander Tung was captured as were other pro-Diem figures such as Police Commissioner Tu, Air Force Commander Hlen, Airborne Commander Col. Vlen, and Marine Commander Khang.
Thereafter, selge was laid to the palace and the coup generals began contacting Diem and Hhu by phone, demanding their immediate resignation. The coup generals werees or no answer from tbe president. On the first call to the palace in mid-afternoon Diem allegedly was not present, and General "Big" Mlnh spoke to Hhu. In order to show Hhu the strength of the coup movement, tbe various
participating generals spoke on the phone. The prisoners, including Colonel Tung, were forced at gun point to tell Nhu the situation. Nhu was then told by General liinh that if he and Diem did not surrender, the palace would receive massive bomb-bardment.
^Gfneral Minh called President Diem again5 Saigon time, but Diem hung up withoutcomment. Minn at that time was reported to have given orders to bomb the palace. At about the sane time there were reports that Diem was preparing to announce imminent surrender, but there has been no firm development on this point as yet. There wasroadcast from the palace suggesting that Diem was trying to rally support.
Coup troops began attacking Gia Long Palace, and expected to take possession0 hours Saigon time. 5 hours Saigon time, General Minn was reported to have given Diem one last chance toor face being "blasted off the face of the earth.' Commencing0 hours four loudwere heard in the vicinity of the palacea ten-minute period.
Earlier in the afternoon. Diem calledLodge0 hours Saigon time, asking what was the position of the US. Lodge took refuge in the confusion of the situation and expressedfor Diem's physical safety. Lodge told Diem that he had heard that the coup leaders had offered Diem and Nhu safe conduct out of the country and he asked Diem about this. Diem's only comment was that he was the Chief of State, that he had tried to do his duty, and that he was trying to reestablish law and order.
General Minn says it is planned to have an entirely civilian government replace the present one. Vice President Nguyen Ngoc Tho and Pham Buy Quat, prominent Dai Viet opposition leader, have so far been designated for this new cabinet. Mlnh hoped to turn over the government to civilian hands in two or three days. The generals also hope for earlyof their new government by the US and the western powers.
troop movements reported by thethat all major combat units adjacent toare supporting the coup. Elements of the
5th division north of Saigon, Including-its headquarters at Bien Hoa, are activitely participating; tbe 7th division south of the city with headquarters at My Tho, reportedly is also supporting the coup. Twobattalions from Bien Hoa, one airborne, and one infantry battalion from Vung Tau (Cap St.nd two airborne battalions from Binh Duong Province Just north of Saigon have moved into the city toin the coup.
II Corps command in central Vietnamto the coup as are major elements ofCorps in the delta; the statusorps innorth is uncertain. The navy apparently wasbut seems to have been neutralized.states that Navy Commander Quyen has beenForce elements are participating. Majorforces, including the police, Special Forces,Presidential Guard Brigade appear largely toneutralized or suppressed except in thearea, unless there is some wavering onof units participating in the coup, theto have the situation under control.
10. Careful planning by the coup group isIndicated by reports from several provincial cities that the military appear to be in charge; at Nha Trang leaflets signed by General Minh havebeen distributed acclaiming the new government. There are also reports of popular jubilation in the provinces as well as in Saigon.